History Goes to the Market

Recipient of the 2017 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Community Programming

November 8, 2017

La Société d'histoire de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke (Québec)

Since 2013, the Société d’histoire de Sherbrooke has been coordinating the popular annual event “L’Histoire fait son marché” (History Goes to the Market) as part of Quebec’s public market week, the Semaine Québécoise des Marchés Publics. For one weekend, market-goers at the Marché de la Gare in Sherbooke find themselves whisked back to the year 1900.

The Société d’histoire de Sherbrooke displays old photographs, presents the history of public markets and invites visitors to guess the cost of a grocery basket from the year 1900. Actors in period costumes and a town crier distribute copies of La Gazette du marché, featuring articles on the city’s history. A farmer from the last century showcases her products and crafts, a traveller recounts tales of discovery and a housewife chats about the ups and downs of daily life. There are even old-fashioned games of skill for young and old alike. Musicians, singers and a “caller” invite visitors to kick up their heels to some traditional dance tunes. The market’s merchants add to the fun as well by offering products at long-bygone prices.

“L’Histoire fait son marché” is a true historical reconstruction made possible by the collective effort of merchants, artists, musicians, volunteers and community members.

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